Amerika magazine

R.W. Alderson of San Diego, Calif, asks, 'Whatever happened to...?'

By most accounts, it was a success. The large-format, Russian-language magazine published by the United States Information Agency aimed to give Soviets a glossy view of the US.

Amerika was part of an exchange-of-information agreement between the Soviet Union and the US at the end of World War II. A few uncensored publications were allowed into the USSR from the US, and vice versa. (Soviet Life was the USSR's version in the US.)

Amerika's first issue was printed in 1945; 50,000 copies were sold to a Soviet distributing agency for resale in the USSR. By 1952, though, a chillier cold war had sunk the effort. In 1956, at President Eisenhower's urging, Amerika was reborn.

The magazine steered clear of blatant propaganda, It was a handsome publication that won many design awards. Articles (half of them translated from US publications) showed how "typical" citizens lived. It was so popular, stronger paper and binding had to be used.

The end of the cold war ended Amerika in 1994. It was replaced in 1996 with biweekly "electronic journals" on the World Wide Web.

If you wonder 'Whatever happened to...' write us at: One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115 or e-mail: whatever@csmonitor.com

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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